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Canon 60D – Personal Thoughts

A couple of days ago Canon finally announced the EOS 60D, the successor to the 50D and the next iteration of Canon’s 10D series of cameras. There are plenty of other blog postings with opinions of the 60D, and tons of threads on various camera and photography forums arguing the pros and cons of Canon’s latest dSLR offering.

That said, I felt like ‘voicing’ my own thoughts and opinions of the 60D.

For one, I just want to establish the fact that this camera is not a 7D replacement. I’ve read tons of complaints on the Internet about how the 7D is a far better camera than the 60D. Well, yes, in general the 7D is the better body. But the 60D isn’t the successor to the 7D. The 60D is the successor to the 50D.

So with the 60D, what does the Canon dSLR field look like now?

We currently have in order from lowest to highest (price/class):

5D Mark II
1D Mark IV
1Ds Mark III

Note that technically the XS, T1i, and 50D are still in production, the XSi, T2i, and 60D are thought of as their successors (with prices very close to their predecessors). So I have excluded them from the above list since the above list are the logical considerations in the Canon family for consumers.

It seems like Canon’s EOS line of dSLR cameras is fairly sound and each step up in class hinges a lot on the compromise/balance between the respective camera’s AF, metering, and video capabilities.

With the new 60D, all of the latest revisions in each class of Canon’s dSLR family has HD video recording capability except the XSi (entry level).

The T2i is very popular among professional film makers because it will shoot 1080p 24/25/30fps just like the 7D. But the price point is a lot lower because it’s still photo capabilities are still in the entry-level Canon ‘Rebel’ class. 9 basic AF points (center cross-point), but with 63 zone metering, and a relatively slow 3.7 fps still frame rate.

The 7D is a very capable APS-C sensor camera for both stills and video, with a 19-point all-cross point AF, 63 zone metering, and 8 fps still frame rate.

So the 60D, the latest iteration of the 10D series, does fill a stop gap between the T2i, which is an excellent HD recording device and an ‘entry level’ still camera, and the 7D which is an all out great still and video APS-C hybrid dSLR.

The 60D uses a similar 9 point AF system and has HD recording capabilities on par with both the T2i and 7D. But adds the 60D adds extra features over the T2i, including faster shutter speed  (1/8000 vs 1/4000), better still frame rates (5 fps vs 3.7 fps), faster sync speed (1/250 vs 1/200), and of course, the flip-out vari-angle LCD screen.

The above obviously shows that the 60D is a worthy choice over the T2i for photographers who need a little more oomph from their camera.

But why the 60D instead of the 7D? Well, for one the 7D has an MSRP $600 more than the 60D. So a prospective buyer may want to save $600 if (s)he doesn’t need the AF and burst rate capabilities of the 7D (19 point all cross-point and 8 fps). Who would this be? Someone who shoots portraiture perhaps. If all you do is shoot a lot of portraits and very little sports, then the 60D is a far better choice than the 7D.

I think the 60D is a worthy iteration of Canon’s 10D-series of dSLR cameras. If anything, I think the articulating is going to be a selling point for those who like to use live view.

I did find it interesting that Canon has changed the media format of the 10D series from CompactFlash to SD/SDHC/SDXC with the 60D (50D and predecessors all used CompactFlash. Those with an earlier 10D-series camera who want to upgrade to the 60D will be forced to get new media.

As far as what a person should buy (particularly a new dSLR purchaser), T2i vs 60D vs 7D, pick based on your needs and budget.

And even if you can afford the 7D (or 5D Mark II), if you don’t need the 7D’s AF capabilities, then why not just go 60D and spend the $600 on glass? A lot of people spend way too much trying to justify which body to get, without considering what lenses they’ll be getting for their camera.

Adorama already has the Canon 60D listed in their catalog and is accepting pre-orders at the $1099 MSRP (body only).

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Lastly, for those wondering, no, I’m not going to get a 60D. I already run the 5D Mark II and 7D. My current photography equipment needs are in lights (more strobes via Paul C. Buff) and lenses (looking to get the Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS next).

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16 Responses

  1. Jason Michaels

    Thanks for the clear explanation. I have a 10D and am looking to upgrade to a 60D or a 7D. Will my 10D lenses fit both cameras? Too bad about Canon not using the magnesium body material on the 60D.

  2. ocabj

    Yes, your lenses will work on the 60D or 7D.

  3. Brittany

    Thanks for such a great review! I was wondering what you thought as far as the 60d vs 7d which is better with low light photography? I am looking to use the kit lens for a while until I can upgrade, but want the body that will work best in low light and one that I will be able to use for a while and not have to upgrade right away.

  4. ocabj

    60D vs 7D in terms of higher ISO performance. I can’t give you first-hand experience since I don’t own a 60D, but I would hazard a guess that they’ll be equal. I’m pretty sure they’re both using the same 18MP APS-C sensor. The 7D does have dual DIGIC IV processors vs the single DIGIC IV processor in the 60D. I’m not sure if that affects noise calculation/reduction.

  5. imi regnart-butler

    Hi, I am thinking about getting a new camera for christmas. I’m only 16 but I’ve been into photography for a pretty long time. I do art for gcse and I’m taking it for A-level so a good camera will come in pretty handy.
    I’ve got a small handy digital one, BUT I don’t get the results I want :(
    I don’t have THAT much money to spend on a camera. But I was thinking about getting the 60D I know you don’t have one, but I was wondering if you knew any drawbacks? Or what makes the 7D a general better camera? I was thinking about the 7D but my mum thought it was too much to spend on a first camera.
    Thankyou :)

  6. ocabj

    @imi regnart-butler

    Well, I pretty much did the basic comparisons of the 60D and 7D in this blog posting. The main drawbacks of the 60D vs the 7D is that the 60D has a slower AF system. That’s not to say it won’t be good. The 10D series of cameras have good AF. But the 7D’s AF is just insane. It’s basically near the AF speed and accuracy of the 1D Mark IV.

    Then the 60D has a slower burst rate than the 7D (5fps vs 8fps). But then again, 5fps is pretty decent for sports.

    If your photography is pretty wide ranging and doesn’t sway heavily towards a primary focus on sports/action, then the 60D will suffice.

  7. sam

    I have a canon rebel xti. What advantages does the 60D have over it. Most of my photography is wildlife/nature scenes. Would the 60D be a good choice?

  8. ocabj

    @sam “I have a canon rebel xti. What advantages does the 60D have over it. Most of my photography is wildlife/nature scenes. Would the 60D be a good choice?”

    While the XTi is a very capable camera (that was my first dSLR), the 60D is a huge leap above the XTi. For one, the 60D is a continuation of the 10D-series, which is the ‘prosumer’ line of Canon dSLR cameras, whereas the XTi is part of the ‘Rebel’ series which is considered entry level. This means that the 60D has a lot more features: more rugged build quality, better auto-focus system, more controls, etc.

    Also, the XTi was released in 2006, so there have been lots of improvements in the electronics since then. The 60D has a better sensor as well as a newer image processor (DIGIC IV vs DIGIC II).

    The 60D also records HD video.

    So yes, the 60D has tons of advantages over it. Will it work for wildlife and nature? Definitely.

    Do you need to upgrade from your XTi? I don’t know. If you already have the lenses for shooting wildlife and nature, and feel like updating your camera body, then go for the 60D. If you don’t have the lenses that are good for wildlife and nature (e.g. long focal length lenses for animals), then I’d definitely get lenses first.

    I met a portrait photographer with a great portfolio and resume who still shoots with a 20D. The older camera body certainly isn’t holding him back.

  9. sam

    thank you for all of your help. I think I am going to go ahead and buy. Great Site!

  10. pete

    Hello, im a filmmaker and i own a Panasonic HVX200, i shoot lot of short and full length film… is it worth to buy the 60d to replace my HVX200? is the video or movie of the 60d is good quality for filming? or the t2i is the great camera? thanks so much.

  11. ocabj

    @pete I honestly can’t answer that question. Yes, the 60D (T2i, 7D, 5D Mark II, 1D Mark IV) video capability is incredible. Should you replace your HVX200? I don’t know. What makes HDSLR so attractive is the fact that you have access to lots of great lenses to get different viewing perspectives (focal lengths) and depth of field. Shooting video with an 85mm f/1.2L lens is definitely a sight to behold. What makes HDSLR so frustrating is the amount of supplemental gear you’ll probably need (e.g. variable neutral density filter, follow focus, rail/rod kit, etc). A high school classmate of mine who now does video productions for a living told me her team has been using Canon 5D Mark II cameras this past year, switching away from their Red Cameras. That says a lot. Whether or not HDSLR is for you will have to be decided with hands on testing. Se if you can borrow or rent one of the Canon HD capable dSLRs and borrow/rent a good lens with it like a fast prime or fast zoom (e.g. 85mm f/1.2 or f/1.8, 70-200 f/2.8). If you’re shooting outdoors and want to shoot wide open aperture, you’ll definitely need a neutral density filter(s) since in bright sun, shooting f/2.8, 1/50 sec, at ISO 100 will be too overexposed.

    FYI: The video quality between a T2i, 60D, and 7D will be virtually the same, especially at the lower end of the ISO range.

  12. Mac

    I’m looking at the 60D for its video capabilities, and my only real concerns are audio and the AF. I think I’ve found a good workaround for the audio. But given that most of my shooting will be handheld documentary-type (non-sporting events) I wonder if the limited AF will be a problem. So far, I like it over the 7D, not just because of the price but because of the variable screen and audio input. I’m hoping to try a 60D out at a local camera shop, but was curious what your thoughts might be regarding the AF on handheld projects.


  13. ocabj

    @Mac It sounds like you might be better off getting a true HD camcorder. It’ll be better for what you are trying to do. But if you are dead set on HDSLR, then it won’t really matter if you get the T2i, T3i, 60D, or 7D since there isn’t continuous AF on any of those bodies. As long as it shoots the resolution and frame rate you want, then get any of those cameras. What you will need to invest more time into researching is the shoulder rig to buy, which is outside my realm of expertise. Start looking at the big two: Red Rock Micro and Zacuto. Both of those companies make various rigs for HDSLR cameras.

  14. Samantha

    Hi, im looking to buy a camera but im uncertain to which one to get. I’m into sports photography and would like to know which is better to get.. the 60D or the 7D? Obviously.. the 7D is the best because of the fps.. but the only downfall is that ive been hearing that is has a lot of noise in the photographs. Is there anyway to get around this? That is why im uncertain in which camera to get. With the 60D its a little slower fps than the 7D but at least its a better image quality and video?? I am not too sure. Please help. Thanks.

  15. ocabj

    The Canon 7D and 60D pretty much have the same 18MP sensor. That said, the 7D doesn’t have noise problems. The ‘noise problems’ you read about are people sit at their computer viewing 100% crops on screen and wonder why they can’t distinguish every single pixel of the photo. The fact of the matter is that it’s packing a lot of megapixels on a smaller sensor (smaller than full frame) so it’s not going to look anywhere near as good at 100% crop as the same sensor size with less megapixels. It’s a very good camera and is arguably still the best APS-C / crop sensor dSLR on the market at this time. I personally know a very established full-time professional glamour photographer who shoots with the 7D and his work is excellent (obviously not holding him back since he’s making his living with it).

    Personally, I’d take the 7D over the 60D. Especially because the 60D doesn’t have a PC sync port (which is not important to anyone who doesn’t use studio strobes) and the 60D doesn’t have a joystick controller (I’m used to this on all the more advanced tier Canon cameras).

  16. Rakesh kumar

    gonna get 60d,since it has tilt lcd. does any complaints will occur regarding lcd screen?

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